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Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 2: The Religion of the People and the Politics of Religion$
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John McManners

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198270041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198270046.001.0001

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The Changing Face of Jansenism

The Changing Face of Jansenism

(p.423) 39 The Changing Face of Jansenism
Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 2: The Religion of the People and the Politics of Religion

John McManners

Oxford University Press

Faced with repression, the Jansenist opponents of Unigenitus had to appeal to a wider public, notably through the clandestine Nouvelles ecclésiastiques, presenting a running chronicle of friends of the ‘truth’ and scandal about its enemies. Doctrinal divisions were now of little importance, but Jansenism tried to give the laity, including women, a new and leading role in the Church. Paris was the ‘fortress of Jansenism’, and it was here that the cult of the Jansenist ‘saint’, François de Pâris, began with miracles at his tomb in the cemetery of Saint‐Médard, a cult, which developed into the convulsionist movement. Convulsionism, and especially its sado‐masochistic lunatic fringe, divided the Jansenists, allowing Fleury to encourage moderate Jansenist scholars to denounce the cult of deacon Pâris, while police surveillance of the convulsionaries tightened in the 1740s.

Keywords:   convulsionaries, Jansenism, miracles, press, women

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